Category Archives: History

Video Lecture: Images of Enlightenment – A Journey Through Buddhist Art

Apr 18, 2014

Suryamati takes us on a journey through the history of Buddhism by exploring the art that emerged with each great phase. Talk given at Sangha Night, Sheffield Buddhist Centre, as part of a series of talks on Buddhism through Time and Space.

Buddhist archive of photography in Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Praband portraitThe Endangered Archives Programme at the British Library is pleased to announce the addition of two related catalogues to its web pages.

The catalogues give details of material copied by the project EAP177 and  EAP326 and relate to the Buddhist archive of photography in Luang
Prabang, Laos.

An EAP pilot project (EAP086) investigated the extent and conditions of an archive of Theravada Buddhist photographs now mainly preserved in one monastery of Luang Prabang/Laos, and started scanning and digitizing the material.

The material found is of high scientific and documentary significance, and very rare. In more than 15,000 single photographs, it covers 120 years of Buddhist photography. Continue reading

New Oxford Handbook: Buddhism – Image as Icon, Image as Art by Charles Lachman
Feb 2014

Abstract:  Buddhism is characterized by considerable geographical and doctrinal diversity, but one feature shared by its many disparate strands is an emphasis on the ritual importance of images. These images constitute the core of the category of “Buddhist art” as it is commonly understood, but there is a significant difference between how such objects are viewed by Buddhist practitioners and how they are viewed by art historians and scholars of religion. This chapter investigates the role and status of images in Buddhism (beginning with the so-called “aniconic controversy”), the various critical approaches that have been used to interpret them, and the inherent tension between these two perspectives: the tension, that is, between images as “icons” and images as “art.” It also considers some of the ways in which such contemporary artists as Atta Kim and Montien Boonma have engaged Buddhist ideas and themes in their practice. Continue reading